Woman sues Butler, fraternity after student rape reportAugust 29, 2018
INDIANAPOLIS — A former Butler University athlete is accusing the school and a campus fraternity of failing to protect her from a male student-athlete who she alleges raped her and has a history of sexual assault.
The woman filed a federal lawsuit Monday alleging the former football player raped her at a party in the Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity house in December 2016. The woman alleged she was looking for a friend who needed help getting home from the fraternity’s party when the man lured her into his room and forced himself on her.
The same man had raped another female student-athlete multiple times the previous school year, but Butler officials failed to take appropriate action when she reported it, according to the lawsuit.
“It took two victims that we know of before this attacker was expelled,” said Kathleen DeLaney, the woman’s attorney.
The man wasn’t named in the lawsuit, arrested or criminally charged.
The fraternity was kicked off campus last year, a month after the reported rape. Fraternity officials didn’t respond to requests for comment.
The woman said she later spoke repeatedly with the university’s Title IX coordinator, who is responsible for ensuring the school complies with federal law governing sex assault and discrimination. She filed a civil rights complaint against the school in January, alleging Butler didn’t provide written information about resources available to her.
The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights dismissed the complaint in March for insufficient evidence. DeLaney said she has since acquired additional evidence.
Butler said Monday that the university investigated the allegations and expelled the accused student last year. But the lawsuit said the expulsion didn’t happen until the woman filed a Title IX grievance against him. He was allowed to remain on campus until his appeal was ultimately denied, resulting in his dismissal.
“Butler breached its duty by allowing (the man) to continue his enrollment at Butler and have access to female Butler students,” the lawsuit said.
DeLaney said the woman has since given up her athletic scholarship at Butler and transferred to another school. She’s seeking damages for emotional distress, mental anguish, and pain and suffering. She also wants Butler to improve its response to sexual assault allegations.
Butler said initiatives planned or underway include expanding sexual violence education for faculty, staff and students and an annual assessment to gauge its effectiveness; improving access to information online; reviewing the school’s Title IX policy and resources available to students; and hiring a full-time investigator to work on Title IX cases.
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